You know, like “two great tastes that go together great” (uh oh repeat metaphor alert) the end of August is the end of 3 month run of DS106 Daily Creates that were also set up as an activity for MYFest22.

The latter was a 3 month series of “recharge and renewal experiences” coordinated by Equity Unbound facilitated by a most wonderful and un-motley crew.

I was invited to help with generating some creative activities, leveraging perhaps stuff from DS106. I had overly ambitious hopes to toss in a “bank like activity” site, a bit like the Make Bank I crafted with Mia Zamora for NetNarr. I saw some possibility of making it something any of the session conveners might use to post activities, challenges, in this space that offers not only the opportunity for participants to publish activities (like the original DS106 Assignment bank is a place for students to create assignments), but also a place for responses to be attached.

Actually I did start setting up a site, but in a familiar tune, and also what drove my participating in MyFest low, was a lack of time. And I was unsuccessful at being able to explain the concept… maybe I needed to do it via Zoom.

I did want to provide something for creative/fun opportunities that did not require zoom sessions and chunks of time. Much of MyFest was zooming (and is organized thus around a calendar), and while I went to one or two great sessions, I started June with optimism to generate an asynchronous wave of activity.

That’s where it made sense (at least to me) since I was already volunteering to keep the site publishing new stuff, was using the DS106 Daily Creates (which runs all on its own momentum, now 10 years without missing a beat) but inviting MYFest participants to join in. Because the daily creates really have no rules or “right way” to do them, it makes for an opportunity to interpret a challenge as it speaks to you.

Parts is Parts

My reference to Frank Perdue here might fly nowhere, but I get it. And that’s how DS106 exists, an outlier… This is what went into setting up the MyFest22 / DS106 Daily Create parallel-a-thon.

(1) First was explaining the offering in a post on the MYFest site. It’s a bit buried in the site, as it ends up under “Ongoing” where through the navigation of monthly offerings and in the Joy and Wellbeing theme grouping.

(2) Because the Daily Create runs from a SPLOT theme I made, I knew I could change one of the theme options to add to the daily tweeted versions the #MYFest22 hashtag (which means it likely dominated the tags) (yup it did).

(3) We encouraged participation via twitter, but it’s never required. I set up a Slack channel in the participant space, and added an RSS thingie (is it in add on? integration) to publish an entry there whenever the Daily Create site updated (every day!). Automated!

The RSS Feed https://daily.ds106.us/feed pushed a new post magically (well not so magically) to the MYFest22 Slack #daily-creating channel

I tried various levels of sharing my thoughts when I did one. But it also provided a space for people to post a response w/o forcing them to tweet. A few folks did Slack only, some did both. I thought it could potentially seed some side discussion, which it did.

The Slack analytics show for June 1 to now that 40 participants joined the channel (16 posted) and there was a total of 727 messages posted (that;s like 90 from the RSS add on). So there you go, stats.

(4) Part of the feature set of the Daily Blank WordPress theme is it provides a shortcode a site owner can use to generate a leaderboard, the main site one is set to show activity for the current year. For fun, or generate interest, I made a MYFest leaderboard, which shows all activity since June 1. It is as simple as this:

[[dailyleaders showbars=”1″ barstyle=”2″ since=”2022-06-01″]]

Now this includes anyone who tweeted a Daily Create response, whether they were in MYFest or not (there was also a section of a DS106 class running over the summer). This is the beauty of DS106 that it is overlapping not segmented. When August 30 slides by, I will save the HTML version of the chart to freeze it in time.

The usual suspects who do the Daily Create regularly are at the top (@NomadWarMachine, @grammasheri, @dogtrax, @ronald_2008 have all been dedicated participants for years) but I’m proud to see MYFest participant Heather or @HAKretschmer sitting high on the list. She was very active and really took to also creating new really creative challenges (10 added). That’s very DS106 spirited. And a hat tip to recent participation Christina Hendricks, who has DS106 experience from way back (that was when she was on sabbatical down under, I recall).

Note that all those links go to a Daily Create URL that acts as a profile of responses by one person. Like a portfolio of sorts. Or something.

Shrug

So it was not a huge amount activity but that was the point of MYFest, to choose what one wants to do. My experience is that people either get DS106 (and hence the core group of people who never stop) or the don’t.

The DS106 Daily Create has gone it’s daily run every single day since January 8, 2012. Do the math and think all the things that climbed the hype curve and have troughed since. The current site has accumulated, september 1, 2015  31223 responses to 2557 Daily Creates by 1359 people (plus more in the previous version of this site).

And DS106 iself keeps going. It is not owned by any institution (hosting generously provided by Reclaim Hosting), it has been used by a range of media courses at different institutions since 2011. No one is actually in charge of it. Think of the rise and fall of MOOCs in this time, which are still the subject of so many academic research papers.

From what I know no one at all has ever studied / researched DS106. The main site still aggregates blogposts from participants, and has an archive even of the majority of blogs that are dead. There is a body of participant activity in almost 97000 aggregated blog posts, all date/time stamped. I’d think there is something there to research, but my bias is strong. So I can only assume that no one takes it seriously or that its too strange or cult like.

The Daily Create, though, that is a thing I cannot let go.

I go back to it’s inspiration, the Daily Shoot that was a web site created by James Duncan Davidson and Mike Clark publishing daily challenges for photographers, tweeting it out, and people responding in twitter where the tweets were syndicated back in to the site– exactly the format rolled into the Daily Create. But it’s description gets to the act of daily creativity:

Photography is an art and a craft. Getting better at both requires practice—lots of practice. The Daily Shoot is a simple daily routine to motivate and inspire you to practice your photography, and share your results! It’s not a contest and there are no prizes. It’s simply about encouraging you to pick up your camera and make photographs.

….

Two suggestions: First, don’t short change yourself by responding to an assignment with an old picture. Get out there and make something new and fresh. Second, while it’s easy to take lots of shots, choose your best one to link to with your tweet. Choosing your best exercises your editing skills, and that’s valuable too.

That’s it. There aren’t any other rules. You aren’t going to get demerits if you miss a few days, nor will you get gold stars for doing every assignment. We’re just here to help you with a little nudge every day. The rest is up to you!

The old Daily Shoot

That’s driven my own Daily Photography habit since 2008 (rarely ever going 365 for 365) and my love of the DS106 Daily create.

And here is my secret. The best part of the Daily Create is making up challenges. The majority are contributed by others (ahem.cough, anyone can add one), but my joy is seeing how people interpret and create based on a prompt I made.

The MyFest22 parallel run for the Daily Create ends the last day in August but the DS106 engine keeps going. There is little like this any more on the internet, and being part of it, fills for me, much more than webinars, the MYFest theme of joy and creativity.

Join in any time. Create some art daily, damnit.


Featured Image:

Parallel Colorverses
Parallel Colorverses flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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